Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Irish chef making a mark in London

I, CB aka DublinFoodie, was barely a wet day in London when I was already blagging my way in – a free sample here, a free glass there…an invite to feast on an eleven course tasting menu at L’Autre Pied (celebrated sister restaurant of Pied à Terre).

But enough bragging about my blagging, all the glory in this post must go to Michelin-starred head chef and Tallaght man Andy McFadden, and glorious is one word I could use to describe his cooking. Playful is another; sensitive, accomplished, beautiful, poetic even, are a few more. Sensitivity and that special kind of poetic licence mark Andy out for me as an Irish chef, as we’ve seen the likes of it in great Irish chefs up and down the spectrum from Kevin Thornton to Denis Cotter. Is it something in our mentality, perhaps? Whatever it is, combine it with mentoring in the cutthroat arena of top London restaurants and the best of British and Irish ingredients and the result is pure poetry.

Imagine just this simple canapé: a shard of beetroot sugar craft – like the sail of a little red boat – guiding in a perfect, molten piece of smoked eel, sashimi-like in precision, flanked by an equally dainty and perfectly formed quenelle of Crapaudine beetroot mayonnaise, and a beetroot crisp, all scented with tapioca. If you eat with your eyes then the dish could fill you. Taste it, and you experience all five tastes of the palate, in perfect harmony. It’s such a complete dish in every way. Now imagine ten more courses, each a playful and sensitive ode to the season: civiche of scallop with mizuna cream and wafers of Jerusalem artichoke; Irish Sika deer cooked in cocoa…Andy McFadden’s work is the work of an artist. The work of a masterly Irish chef.

L’Autre Pied
5-7 Blandford Street
London W1U 3DB

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